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Dr. Tanja Pejovic, a researcher at Knight Cancer Institute: New research offers hope to those with the deadly disease

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Happy Valley resident Peggy Hayes, an ovarian cancer survivor, holds her granddaughter Evelyn. In her honor, family members wore fish hats and T-shirts that said 'Just Keep Swimming for Peggy.'Hundreds of runners and walkers gathered at Team Latus Motors Harley-Davidson in Gladstone on Aug. 3, raring to go for the 15th annual Sherie Hildreth Ovarian Cancer Foundation Walk/Run.

Before the race began, Bruce Hildreth, president of the SHOC Foundation, told participants that this year marked the donation of $1 million to OHSU's Knight Cancer Institute.

"And today, we are starting on our second million," Hildreth said.

The SHOC Foundation was founded by Sherie Hildreth, a longtime teacher at Kraxberger Elementary School in Gladstone. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2004, and the first run/walk took place in August 2005.

After Hildreth died in 2009, her husband Bruce and daughter Ashley took over the reins of the organization.

"Fifteen years ago this (research) was not happening," Hildreth told the crowd, adding, "You are helping our cause directly."

He then introduced Dr. Tanja Pejovic, a researcher at Knight Cancer Institute, who told participants that "we are on the verge of working on a new class of drugs" to fight ovarian cancer.

"We are working on new treatment and new therapy — there is hope," she said.

Pejovic added that five years ago the survival rate of women with ovarian cancer was 30%, but now it is 47%.

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Ovarian cancer survivors, many wearing the SHOC Foundation's distinctive teal T-shirt, gather before the start of the race/walk in Gladstone on Aug. 3."That is a huge jump," she noted.

The final guest speaker was Sandi Jossi, an ovarian-cancer survivor who was first diagnosed in 2007.

"I first came here in 2008, and I am so proud of what this organization does, and I am incredibly grateful to those who support this cause," she said.

One of her retirement goals is to make a complete family medical history, and she advised all listeners to do the same.

Jossi added, "I encourage all of you to listen to your bodies and don't be afraid to talk to people who have cancer."

The SHOC Foundation has one more fundraising event, the 11th Annual Drive Out Ovarian Cancer Golf Tournament on Sept. 6 at Langdon Farms Golf Club, 24377 N.E. Airport Road, Aurora. For more information and to register for the tournament, visit shocfoundation.org.


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